MEMBERS STATEMENTS School cleaners

Mr BURGESS (Hastings) (09:55:58) — Union organisers were sent to visit all Victorian schools to try to pressure cleaners into joining. Only 12 of those many hundreds did. The union told the cleaners that if they did not join they would lose their jobs. Now it is clear for everyone to see who is really running this state, because true to that promise every one of those many hundreds of metropolitan cleaners were sacked.

What a shining example of the utter incompetence of this Labor government the Minister for Education is, and what an embarrassing mess this minister, whom others refer to as Lord Farquaad, has made of school cleaning in this state. He wiped out hundreds of small businesses and crushed the hopes and dreams for the future of hundreds of Victorian families that stand behind those businesses. The minister took a healthy industry that sustained hundreds of small family businesses and employed hundreds more people — an industry that kept our schools clean and comfortable for our children, and businesses and workers that went the extra mile to ensure their school communities had everything they needed when they needed it — and in just a stroke of Lord Farquaad’s mighty sword reduced it to just six businesses, including companies that had previously been convicted and fined for underpaying their employees.

Filthy schools, no flexibility of cleaners or cleaning, closed businesses, no jobs at all and cleaners being underemployed, underpaid or not paid at all — these are just some of the problems this minister imposed on Victorian metropolitan schools. Just 38 days after sacking hundreds of these businesses and causing so many problems for so many families, now this incompetent minister has decided to carry out an audit. If he had bothered to get this audit done earlier, he would have known what the facts were. He must not roll this out to regional schools.